Deuteronomy 8:10-11, 18 Amplified Bible (AMP)
10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for all the good land which He has given you. 11 Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His precepts, and His statutes which I command you today,
18 But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
My mother would always reference this verse around Thanksgiving, a time where many of us in America come together and, among other things, eat a large meal. I have come to love this passage myself, and I believe that, like the holiday of Thanksgiving, giving thanks to God is something that we ought to remember never to forget.
A Nation That So Easily Forgets God
When I brought this scripture out in a recent music ministry rehearsal, I mentioned that our society seems to skip this holiday. Believe it or not, unlike many other holidays, it is proclaimed every year by the US president (See President Obama’s 2011 proclamation) since 1863, yet on November 1st, department stores take down their Halloween decorations and begin promoting Christmas in full force (albeit, not the Christmas of the Bible). Just in case some of us actually bother to wait until Thanksgiving comes before we begin shopping, commercials, emails, and internet ads focus on where we should spend our money the next day, “Black Friday.” Perhaps it is “skipped over” because Thanksgiving is a holiday that can’t be commercialized (except maybe in grocery stores). However, I like the response my pastor gave recently: Celebrating Thanksgiving requires that we turn our attention to God and thank Him.
A Nation That Had a Lot to Be Thankful For
In Deuteronomy we read about the children of Israel, truly a nation of their own right. They witnessed God deliver them from the slavery they experienced in Egypt, then had been divinely provided for by God for 40 years in the wilderness. Even during those times, many of them grumbled and many of the people never saw the promised land they were about to enter. However, God was now bringing them into that “good land” where they would have an abundance of water, food, beauty, and other useful resources. However, God (and Moses, His servant), had already seen how quickly the people forgot the blessings they have already received. This speech served as a reminder to them, as they were about to come into a season of abundance, to remember that it was only because of God that they were blessed.
“This Land is Our Land” ONLY Because it was “…MADE For You And Me”
I remember singing “This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land,” one of the many patriotic songs that I was taught in school. The song’s chorus mainly focuses on the different characteristics of our nation. However, now I think the most important line is, “This land was MADE for you and me.” A subtle, easily forgotten truth lies here. Regardless of what nation we are in, God MADE it all. Even the most successful men and women could not be so if it were not for the resources that God provided them. It truly is HE that gives us power to get wealth.
Don’t Forget to Thank God
Even in church, I think we can forget to truly be thankful to God. At times, we may jump directly to praising God for His miraculous works or rush into worshiping God for who He is. However, I believe that making it personal begins with thanksgiving. In our struggles, our successes, our ignorance and our pride we can easily forget that our basic, everyday needs are already provided for by God. We have life, we should be thankful. We have breath, we should be thankful. We were able to make it to church (and everywhere else we go), we should be thankful. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves (even in song) that, no matter how bad things seem to get or how much work we have put in to reach our current status, that we need to thank God.